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Rep. Zullo, Sen. Cicarella Urge Local Leaders to Oppose State Zoning Power Grab

Posted on October 1, 2021

Lawmakers Urge Mayor Carfora, East Haven Planning & Zoning Boards to protect local zoning, opt-out of new state parking and accessory apartment regulations

HARTFORD – State Rep. Joe Zullo (R-99) and State Sen. Paul Cicarella (R-34), ranking member of the legislature’s Housing Committee, wrote to East Haven Mayor Joseph A. Carfora urging the town to opt-out of a new statewide mandate on parking and accessory apartment regulations. The mandate, outlined in P.A. 21-29, supersedes local zoning regulations via a series of overriding mandates.

“In principal and in practice, we supported the legislation’s underlying objectives to increase housing opportunities and make our zoning laws easier to administer.  However, we both strongly opposed mandates in the legislation overriding local towns’ parking regulations and imposing a one-size-fits-all approach to accessory apartments (commonly known as “in-law” apartments),” the lawmakers wrote.

“Neither of us support a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to zoning. Rather, we believe that zoning decisions are best left to informed, connected stakeholders in our communities as opposed to Hartford bureaucrats,” they said.

The state mandate reduces East Haven’s one-bedroom dwelling unit parking from 2.5 spaces to 1, and two-bedroom units or more from 2.5 spaces to 2. The “accessory apartment” mandate has the practical effect of converting nearly every single-family home into a multi-family dwelling by giving “as \-of-right” zoning status to “in-law apartments” and accessory additions.

Zullo and Cicarella added, “Also, the ‘in-law apartment’ mandate acts to convert single-family homes into two-family dwellings, which poses a threat to the town’s delivery of public safety and emergency services, education and residential parking throughout the town.”

The new state law includes a provision for town opt-out through specific procedural requirements including town hearings. The lawmakers are encouraging the town to consult with its land use counsel and relevant board members to discuss the appropriateness of exercising this option and have made themselves available to administrators for further assistance in advance of the Jan. 1, 2023 deadline.

Click here to view their letter.

Photo attached: State Rep. Joe Zullo (left) and State Sen. Paul Cicarella (right).

Sen. Paul Cicarella represents Connecticut’s 34th Senate District that includes the towns of Durham, East Haven, North Haven and Wallingford. Rep. Joe Zullo represents Connecticut’s 99th General Assembly District that includes the Town of East Haven.